O’Donovan Rossa GAA Club is investing €150,000 to get back to winning Cork and All-Ireland titles, says club chairman Pat Fitzgerald.
This week, the club announced their 2020 strategic plan, which will see three pitches added to the two they already have and the building of a 400-seater covered stand.
The Skibbereen club won its only Cork senior title in 1992, following it up with All-Ireland glory against Éire Óg of Carlow.
“We need to get the club back in that bracket, back playing on the big stage,” said Fitzgerald. “The new pitches are the most important thing in doing that. There are 31 teams here and only having two pitches was a nightmare. Our focus is to get those three pitches down and give the teams the opportunity to train as much as possible.”
The club began redevelopment in recent years, installing a new astroturf with a hurling wall, developing two training pitches and purchasing 3.5 acres of land.
Committee member Fintan O’Connell is confident the club will receive the support needed for the work.
“Fundraising is something we’ll be leaning on hugely. €150,000 is our target over the two years to get the job done, and we’re confident of doing that. There’s a broad-based public appeal to this project, both at home and abroad, and we have a significant amount of expats, so we’re hoping businesses and the general public will get involved. We’re offering membership packages, including sponsored seats and a wall of honour, things like that.
“The idea behind it is to develop Rossa’s into a state-of-the-art facility.
“The idea of putting in the 400-seater stand is trying to make an atmosphere for our players, as well as making it comfortable for our fans. A bonus is being able to host neutral county games in our facility.
“Work will really start in the new year, but we already have the foundations of the new pitches being laid out.”
There are also plans to “develop and implement a coaching plan within the club, so all the players adopt a specific game plan under the auspices of a coaching coordinator”.
Fitzgerald said: “We’re going to be getting rid of the ‘handball’ system that’s being played at the moment, all this hand-passing backwards. We’re going to bring back the old style of football, the type of football that Kerry play. One hop, one solo, bring back long kicks and high fielding. The standards of the GAA are being ruined at the moment, but we’re looking to implement the old style from underage and upwards.
“The facility will make an impact on the whole community. The numbers are rising in the local schools every year and they need the facilities to get out from in front of the television and come down to the pitches, that’s the main thing.”
The launch of the plan will be held in the GAA pavilion next Saturday at 7.15pm.